Lawyer freed after 12 hours in Talisay jail-A A +A
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
LAWYER Floro Casas, Jr. stepped out of the Talisay City jail yesterday after spending 12 hours inside, following his arrest last Monday night.
Judge Mario Manayon lifted the bench warrant he issued against Casas, who was ordered jailed for his failure to attend the hearing of his grave oral defamation case last Dec.17.
“Acting on the urgent motion to lift bench warrant of arrest dated Jan.7, which bears the ‘no objection’ signature of fiscal Hyacinth Jadraque, the court resolves to grant the same,” read Manayon’s one page order.
Casas was released past 11 a.m. yesterday.
Police served the bench warrant of arrest on Casas’ residence at Azienda Cresta subdivision in Barangay Maghaway, Talisay City at 10:20 p.m. last Monday.
Manayon, the Municipal Trial Court in Cities Branch 1 presiding judge, issued the arrest warrant after Casas failed to attend the hearing of his case last Dec.17, 2013.
In his order, Judge Manayon said it was Casas who requested to set the pre-trial conference of the case last Dec.17.
But the lawyer failed to attend the court hearing “without justifiable reason,” the judge pointed out.
Prosecutor Jadraque then asked Manayon to issue a bench arrest warrant for failure of Casas to appear in the pre-trial conference.
In his motion, Casas said he did not receive any court notice about the scheduled hearing on Dec.17.
“The accused has absolutely no intention of evading the prosecution of this case, no matter how baseless and frivolous this case may be,” read Casas’ pleading.
While it was true that he proposed the Dec. 17 hearing, Casas said there was no confirmation from the court that his proposed date was accomodated.
Thus, he said believed that the hearing did not push through last Dec. 17.
In fact, Casas said the complainant assured him to withdraw the case in an out-of-court negotiation.
The complainant, Cebu City Assistant Prosecutor Mary Ann Castro, accused Casas of grave oral defamation.
The conflict arose after Casas allegedly called Castro “buang” and “”terrorist” during a homeowners’ association meeting on July 20, 2013.
Casas and Castro are neighbors in Barangay Maghaway, Talisay City.
“No amount of sohistry will take these statements out of the compass of grave oral defamation,” said Castro in her complaint.
The prosecutor also sought P3 million in actual damages and litigation expenses for causing her “”serious mental and social injury.”
Judge Manayon reset the pre-trial conference on Jan.21.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 08, 2014.